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Infinite Jest | [David Foster Wallace]

Infinite Jest

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.
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Audible Editor Reviews

"Pratt is a startlingly good narrator, dry and expressive, with the kind of vocal control that evokes dozens of characters with only slight but very distinctive variations of accent and affect.... Pratt hears the humor in Wallace's work, and lets you in on the joke without resorting to overheated wackiness. His control and stamina are impressive." (John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review)

Publisher's Summary

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

Please note: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material, including endnotes, will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

A Note from Hachette Audio
We are deeply honored to be the audio publisher of David Foster Wallace's works, and are keenly aware of the great responsibility that attends the privilege. We felt that it was important to make Infinite Jest accessible in the audio format as soon as we were able, and are gratified to find that there is an audience that has been waiting for just this occasion.

Some early listeners have been disappointed that the novel's endnotes are currently available only in text form, to be read. Choosing to include the endnotes as a downloadable PDF file, rather than as a recording by the narrator, was a difficult decision for all involved, and we debated different options at length before beginning production. The audio format allows us great opportunities to showcase Wallace's love of language and grammatical dexterity, to illuminate characters and their relationships, and to bring out some of the unique humor inherent in his work. However, there are also certain limitations to the format, and we needed let go of some of our preconceived notions about the form of Infinite Jest, as we must when we adapt any complex work to audio.

The compromise we ended up with was heavily influenced by practical concerns, especially those regarding the limitations of current technology. Because some of the endnotes are pages-long digressions, if we had them read in line with the main narrative, we would have run the risk of making the already complex story unfollowable for listeners. In the end, we decided the audiobook would flow best by having the endnotes indicated by number throughout the narrative by an additional narrator. However, we acknowledge that these choices may not work for all listeners. Accordingly, our future plans are to produce the endnotes as an additional, stand-alone audio piece.

©2006 David Foster Wallace (P)2012 Hachette

What the Critics Say

“[A]n exhilarating, breathtaking experience. This book teems with so much life and death, so much hilarity and pain, so much gusto in the face of despair that one cheers for the future of our literature.” (Newsday)

"[A] postmodern saga of damnation and salvation…resourceful, hilarious, intelligent, and unique.” (The Atlantic Monthly)

"[C]ompulsively entertaining… one of the big talents of his generation, a writer of virtuosic skills who can seemingly do anything.” (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (514 )
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4.2 (447 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cholmondeley Santa Barbara, CA United States 09-25-12
    Cholmondeley Santa Barbara, CA United States 09-25-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pratt's reading is virtuoso performance"

    Listening to Infinite Jest is an experience of hearing the work of a virtuoso performer. These 900+ pages include four-page paragraphs (3000 words) which Pratt reads in a way that keeps them engaging and fresh from beginning to end. The same can be said about his reading of the entire novel.

    His accomplishment can't be fully appreciated without reading a few pages of the text while he performs it. I find myself listening to random selections from the download two or three times, and I enjoy listening to the words and sentences without concern about how the fit into something larger. I don't think I've ever done this with another book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 09-10-13
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 09-10-13 Member Since 2010
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    "So Good It Makes Me Mad And THERE ARE ENDNOTES"
    Any additional comments?

    It is rare that I read a book that makes me angry because it so good. I'm reading this, thinking to myself "I wish I could write like this. I could NEVER write like this."
    I am not even halfway finished and I already love this book. Everything about it is beautifully done; the characters, the story, the plot, the prose, everything. It is a tragedy that David Foster Wallace took his own life and left the world bereft of any more of his work. It is clear that the man had many demons of his own to deal with and that those demons finally were too much to handle.
    I have to thank the author Michael Chabon for introducing this book to me in CHabon's "Manhood For Amateurs". I have no idea how I never had read any Wallace before now, but I plan on devouring any of his work I can get my hands on.
    There are a lot of reviews on here that say that there aren't endnotes. There are, they are just in a PDF that you download separately. Unfortunately, they are not in audio, but they are there.
    This is an amazing and beautiful piece of literature, and I don't use that word very often, that is both humorous and poignant. It evoked so many different emotions from me as I listened that at times I was a little breathless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Hobart, Australia 12-19-12
    Brad Hobart, Australia 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Serious end"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I liked this story. It made me laugh. It made me weep. I sent gift copies to people I love, and I sent a copy to someone I hate. They deserved it. I think some of the best stories might for instance be set in a tennis school, or at AAmeetings. I sure learned a lot about depression and drugs and stuff, as well as lots of new words like "annular" and ummmm, Annular and well yes, annular. Plus some others.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    This story was interesting for me because I could listen to it. It was like being told a story, or like my big brother who I look up to, not hitting me with a tennis ball, kind of bouncing it on my head, over and over and telling me that he thinks post modern is over and we are now definitely post post modern and that we should all be playing virtual eschaton and watching out that we don't get too clinically depressed because if we do, we will become addicted to reading very long novels where the author makes fun of us for reading what he writes before he takes his own life, to show us he meant what he said about it being all one big joke. Seriously!


    Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At 56 hours, I heard a guy down the valley couldn't stop and perished of dehydration. So I always keep a glass of Gatorade next to me just in case I get too engrossed.


    Any additional comments?

    Dear David. Thank you. We will miss you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keaton Lawton, OK, United States 10-10-12
    Keaton Lawton, OK, United States 10-10-12
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    "Excellent Audiobook, Albeit Pricey"
    Where does Infinite Jest rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a great title that sounds better spoken than it looks on page.


    Any additional comments?

    However, Infinite Jest contains nearly 400 footnotes that convey invaluable plot information. The audiobook does NOT contain these, although it does contain references to them. This means that this audiobook is an excellent companion to the text, but you WILL NOT understand the narrative if attempt to only listen to this audiobook, while never purchasing the text and checking the footnotes.


    The way I did it, Infinite Jest's 1000+ pages of 8 point font with no white space on the page is awful hard to make it through. Listening to the audiobook greatly sped up what would have been a six month reading project. Alternate this with reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anew 05-09-12
    Anew 05-09-12 Member Since 2002
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    "56 Hours of Fun"

    I thought the performance by Sean Pratt was just excellent. He made each character come alive (with, for example, different voices even for the characters that didn't have obvious accents). I looked for other fiction titles by this reader.

    I also liked the way that footnotes were dealt with compared to the alternative of inserting them in a different voice. It's never going to be perfect, dealing with footnotes, because some readers read each footnote right when it appears, some never read them, and others catch up on them periodically. I can see how this would not be ideal for fastidious or visually impaired listeners, but for a listener like me, who would go to the footnotes periodically while reading, this setup was perfect.

    The book itself I enjoyed enough to reread in print. I am catching a lot more of the humor this way--already familiar with the characters and more patient with the footnotes--but the more touching, emotional aspects of the book were well conveyed in audio. I would recommend the audiobook to the any reader who tried and failed to "get through" Infinite Jest in print. The audio was a pleasure to listen to for the full 56+ hours, which is saying a lot.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    katherine TOPANGA, CA, United States 06-29-12
    katherine TOPANGA, CA, United States 06-29-12
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    "Awesome Half-Book!"
    What did you like best about Infinite Jest? What did you like least?

    The book is wonderful. The reader is masterful. The endnotes are not there. Unless you count the pdf files. I listen to audiobooks while I work, which does not afford me the luxury of being able to stop and read each endnote as they occur in the book.

    I am not a scholar of Infinite Jest. If these were your average endnotes I wouldn't care that they were missing. I listen purely for entertainment. But the endnotes are a huge part of this book. Who ever thought to remove them made a big big mistake.

    I still enjoyed the book. But I'd recommend NOT buying it until this endnote fiasco is resolved.

    Deeply frustrating.


    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley La Crosse, WI, United States 09-10-12
    Bradley La Crosse, WI, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book, great reader!"
    Where does Infinite Jest rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top, except for the frustration over having to run to the book to read the endnotes.


    What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

    He captured Wallace's narration voice and every character's voice perfectly. This is probably the greatest performance of a book I've ever listened to (and I've listened to about a hundred).


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both, and it made me curse every time I missed an endnote.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone willing to listen to 56 hours of this wouldn't mind listening to another 10 in order to hear all the endnotes. I think it was a terrible mistake not to include them. Other than that, this is one of the greatest books ever written, and one of the greatest performances by a reader.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ä Lalilu 10-22-12
    Ä Lalilu 10-22-12 Member Since 2010

    Passionate audio book listener

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    5
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    "Test Review - only for tech testing"

    This is only a test and shall not go live. This is only a test and shall not go live.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Wellington, FL, United States 03-26-13
    Jimmy Wellington, FL, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2001
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    "Confusing and disjointed"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Nothing about this book appealed to me. I made it 6 hours into the book before giving up. The story doesn't seem to have a point and is written in a disjointed and impossible to follow manner.


    What could David Foster Wallace have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Added a plot.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kim brookline, MA, United States 12-14-14
    kim brookline, MA, United States 12-14-14 Member Since 2013

    I love to be read to!

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    "The Best Narrator a Ever!"
    What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

    I'm not finished this book yet but what is getting me through is the narrator Sean Pratt. I am learning that the narrator makes or beaks audiobooks. Infinite Jest is a challenging read/listen and this narrator is making this experience happen for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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